PPGP is a collection of uncomfortable symptoms caused by a misalignment or stiffness of your pelvic joints at either the back or front of your pelvis. PPGP is not harmful to your baby, but it can cause severe pain around your pelvic area and make it difficult for you to get around. Different women have different symptoms, and PPGP is worse for some women than others.
Symptoms can include:
• pain over the pubic bone at the front in the centre
• pain across one or both sides of your lower back
• pain in the area between your vagina and anus (perineum)
Pain can also radiate to your thighs, and some women feel or hear a clicking or grinding in the pelvic area. The pain can be most noticeable when you are:
• going upstairs
• standing on one leg (for example, when you’re getting dressed or going upstairs)
• turning over in bed
It can also be difficult to move your legs apart – for example, when you get out of a car.
There is treatment to help, and techniques to manage the pain and discomfort. If you get the right advice and treatment early on, PPGP can usually be managed and the symptoms minimised. Occasionally, the symptoms even clear up completely. Most women with PPGP can have a normal vaginal birth.
Who gets pelvic pain in pregnancy?
It’s estimated that PPGP, or SPD as it’s sometimes known, affects up to one in five pregnant women to some degree.
It’s not known exactly why pelvic pain affects some women, but it’s thought to be linked to a number of issues, including previous damage to the pelvis, pelvic joints moving unevenly, and the weight or position of the baby.
Factors that may make a woman more likely to develop PPGP include:
• a history of lower back or pelvic girdle pain
• previous injury to the pelvis – for example, from a fall or accident
• having PPGP in a previous pregnancy
• a hard physical job